The Charleston Gazette | Transfers poised to make big impact in Big 12

College basketball these days is becoming a game of free agency.

That’s not news, of course. It’s been the case for more than a few years. Once upon a time the complaint was that if coaches can break contracts and move from one school to the next without much penalty, why shouldn’t players be permitted the same luxury?

Well, more and more they are.

Consider the Big 12, which on Wednesday held its annual basketball media day here at the Sprint Center.

The preseason player of the year in the league is West Virginia point guard Juwan Staten. It’s been a while and so some forget, but he’s a transfer from Dayton.

via The Charleston Gazette | Transfers poised to make big impact in Big 12.

Juwan on One – WVU Athletics

Juwan Staten goes Juwan on One with the rest of the Big 12 today at media day in Kansas City. The Big 12 preseason player of the year will also go Juwan on One periodically at home basketball games this season on Coliseum Vision.

via Juwan on One – WVU Athletics.

Baylor Preview – WVU Athletics

Two years ago, in 2012, West Virginia fans got their first taste of Big 12 football when the Mountaineers played host to Baylor.

It’s a game people around here still talk about.

There were 19 combined touchdowns and of those, 16 happened in less than three minutes. The combined 133 points were three shy of the NCAA record of 136 established by Navy and North Texas in 2007, and it was easily the most points ever scored in a football game involving West Virginia University.

The two teams generated 1,507 yards while running a staggering 180 plays; Baylor quarterback Nick Florence passed for 581 yards and Terrence Williams caught 17 passes for 314 yards – in a losing effort.

Yes, West Virginia won the game, 70-63, and considering how frequently Baylor is scoring points this year, the Mountaineers may need to have a similar offensive performance on Saturday just to keep pace with the high-flying Bears.

via Baylor Preview – WVU Athletics.

WATCH: WVU Basketball Coach Bob Huggins at Big 12 Media Day

Watch full video of WVU Head Basketball Coach, Bob Huggins    , as he addresses the media at 2014 Big 12 Media Day.

via WATCH: WVU Basketball Coach Bob Huggins at Big 12 Media Day – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports.

WV MetroNews – Defense ‘never got back on track’ after 73-point scorching at Baylor

Shaq Riddick wasn’t part of West Virginia’s 2013 defense that was annihilated at Baylor, yet it only took a couple of film sessions this week for him to commiserate.

“Baylor almost scored 100 points,” he said, only slightly exaggerating what transpired in Baylor’s 73-42 runaway. The Bears piled up 864 yards (the most ever by a Big 12 offense), reeled off 38 first downs and breezed through nine touchdown drives of 72 yards or longer.

No West Virginia defense has ever been whipped so thoroughly or flattened so emotionally. Defensive coordinator Tony Gibson referred to it this week as “the most embarrassing game I’ve ever been a part of.”

via WV MetroNews – Defense ‘never got back on track’ after 73-point scorching at Baylor.

Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: Gibson’s call for more pressure helped Mountaineer defense

Tony Gibson has been spending his time wisely, and West Virginia’s defensive coordinator made wise decisions when it mattered most Saturday against Texas Tech.

The Red Raiders had the football at their 30-yard line with 2:03 remaining and the score tied. Gibson had his defense blitz on the next six plays and called the same blitz five times. It forced Texas Tech to punt the ball and set up the game-winning drive that ended with Josh Lambert’s 55-yard field goal.

That blitz Gibson used again and again in the 37-34 win was new to his call sheet and designed to get after an offense that allowed just four sacks on 239 pass attempts in the first five games.

“I was looking at them just break film down last week, and on Monday I’m sitting there and thought, ‘You know what? Nobody ever gets to them with outside pressure. We’ve got to make sure we get something in his face and let him see us,” Gibson said.

via Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: Gibson’s call for more pressure helped Mountaineer defense.

The Charleston Gazette | Mountaineers finding balance on offense

West Virginia’s opponents have seen what the Mountaineers would most like to do on offense and have pretty much vowed not to allow it.

They saw Clint Trickett with 350- and 500-yard passing days and Kevin White with his string of outlandish receiving performances and Mario Alford with his speed and an occasional circus catch downfield. They saw all of that and they said, no, that’s not happening.

And so West Virginia has adapted. It’s not always been pretty and not always immediately successful, but it has been effective.

In the past two games, wins over Kansas and Texas Tech, WVU has rushed for an average of 252 yards. Rushel Shell now has back-to-back 100-yard rushing days and in Saturday’s 37-34 win at Texas Tech, he and Wendell Smallwood, the two sophomores in the team’s five-man stable of backs, became the first WVU teammates to run for 100 yards in the same game since Pat White and Noel Devine six years ago.

That’s three times in six games this season (the other was Towson) that the Mountaineers have rushed for almost exactly 250 yards (251, 255 and 249). Not coincidentally, in the team’s other three games it had its three highest passing totals against Maryland (511), Oklahoma (376) and Alabama (365).

In other words, balance on offense seems to have pretty much arrived.

via The Charleston Gazette | Mountaineers finding balance on offense.

Texas Tech Notebook – WVU Athletics

Yes, Texas Tech is struggling right now and, no, Saturday’s win in Lubbock won’t be listed among the all-time great victories in school history, but don’t discount the importance of Saturday’s win though.

No. 1, it came at Texas Tech, which, no matter how well or how poorly the Red Raiders are playing, it’s still a good victory because the people there care deeply about football. All you have to do is look around Jones AT&T Stadium, the banner showing the 36 bowl-game appearances the Red Raiders have made, the surrounding facilities and the fan support to realize that.

No. 2, the Mountaineers finally closed out a game. A month ago West Virginia pulled out a close one at Maryland, but the entire second half the Mountaineers were leaking oil and holding on by their fingernails.

On Saturday, West Virginia withstood an early barrage from Texas Tech, kept its poise and turned it on in the fourth quarter to overcome a 14-point deficit in the final 7:32 to win a Big 12 road game. That’s gold right there.

via Texas Tech Notebook – WVU Athletics.

No. 1 Rifle Opens Season With Win – WVU Athletics

The No. 1-ranked West Virginia University rifle team opened its season defeating No. 8 TCU, 4712-4664, today, at the WVU Rifle Range.  

The team’s 4712 aggregate score is the highest of any opening match score in team history and two shots higher than any last season. The Mountaineers’ high score in 2013-14 was 4710, when they placed first at the Withrow Invitational, Jan. 24, at Murray State.

“I wasn’t surprised by the score,” head coach Jon Hammond said. “I’m certainly really happy to see that, but I’m more happy that we had a good performance. We’ve almost come to expect good scores from the team, but it was very pleasing to see them work hard to get it today.”

The Mountaineers won both disciplines, outshooting the Horned Frogs in smallbore, 2340-2308, and air rifle, 2372-2356.

via No. 1 Rifle Opens Season With Win – WVU Athletics.

WATCH: WVU Football Players React to 37-34 Win at Texas Tech

The West Virginia University Football team used a 55-yard field goal by Josh Lambert to knock off Texas Tech on Saturday afternoon in Lubbock, 37-34.

The Mountaineers had been 0-2 against the Red Raiders heading into Saturday's game. Texas Tech held a 34-20 lead with more than seven minutes remaining in the contest, but squandered its lead late in the game.

via WATCH: WVU Football Players React to 37-34 Win at Texas Tech – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports.

WATCH: Dana Holgorsen Addresses Media After Texas Tech Win

WVU Head Football Coach Dana Holgorsen spoke with the media after watching a memorable comeback, as the Mountaineers scored 17 unanswered points in the final seven minutes to beat Texas Tech, 37-34, on Saturday afternoon in Lubbock, Tx.

via WATCH: Dana Holgorsen Addresses Media After Texas Tech Win – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports.

WV MetroNews – Mountaineers’ feverish finish packs carryover beyond one game

One game.

This was Dana Holgorsen minimizing the huge emotional gulf between his team being 3-3 after a loss at Texas Tech vs. the 4-2 record they actually carried back to Morgantown.

“It’s a difference in one game,” Holgorsen reiterated.

Not a soul in the room believed him.

And deep down, neither did the man who said it.

Hard to trust the buttoned-down coachspeak when just minutes previously Holgorsen lept like a kid into the arms of Shaquille Riddick. So unbridled was the Happy Holgo Express he even made a point to speak to the game-winning kicker.

via WV MetroNews – Mountaineers’ feverish finish packs carryover beyond one game.

Charleston Daily Mail | Mike Casazza: Holgorsen has evolved since days in Lubbock

The way that Dana Holgorsen tells the story, he began exploring avenues out of Lubbock, Texas, when he ran out of ways to get Mike Leach to punt.

Holgorsen was the rising young assistant coach starting to stand out as the Texas Tech offensive coordinator. Leach was the head coach swinging his sword his way on offense. The apple was going to fall from the tree one day.

Before that could happen, Kevin Sumlin plucked the low-hanging fruit.

Sumlin was the co-offensive coordinator at Oklahoma in 2007 and coached the Sooners to the Fiesta Bowl, where they ran into a buzzsaw of emotion and execution named West Virginia and suffered a 48-28 defeat.

Days before that, Sumlin was named the head coach at the University of Houston. When the bowl season was over, Sumlin started talking to coaches he wanted to hire. Holgorsen was early in the process. And the instructions were simple.

Sumlin liked what Texas Tech was doing, what he had witnessed in Oklahoma’s Big 12 battles against the Red Raiders, and he wanted to put Holgorsen in charge of doing that for Houston. But he also wanted to run more and, most importantly, do it all as fast as possible.

The Fiesta Bowl had left a mark.

via Charleston Daily Mail | Mike Casazza: Holgorsen has evolved since days in Lubbock.

Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: Transfer making an impact on defense

Edward Muldrow is just beginning to make his mark on West Virginia’s defense, but the junior college transfer who made his first start last week is already making the most of his relationships.

It begins with Brandon Golson, who started the previous 16 games at Will linebacker before Muldrow started there against Kansas. Golson played all of his snaps during the game as a defensive end, but he and Muldrow combined to pressure the passer a few times during the game.

“He’s from South Carolina and I went to South Carolina,” said Muldrow, who was a freshman at South Carolina in 2010. “I’d actually seen him a couple times on recruiting visits and ran into him and found out we kind of had the same background on top of that. Now he finishes sentences for me and I finish sentences for him. We’re pretty much the same exact person. Like minds think alike.”

The similarities are part of the thinking behind the recent moves, but Muldrow also needed to reach a point where coaches trusted him to play the position. He had help getting there from defensive line coach Tom Bradley. Muldrow said Bradley loaded up his iPad with game film for Muldrow to study before his start against the Jayhawks.

via Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: Transfer making an impact on defense.

The Charleston Gazette | Texas Tech searching for consistency on offense

Of all the problems that have plagued Texas Tech this season, it’s really difficult to know where to begin.

Simplistically speaking, it would be easy to cite the defense, which ranks dead last in the Big 12 in (deep breath now) scoring defense, total defense, rushing defense, pass efficiency defense and first downs allowed. In perhaps the most significant statistic, third-down conversions allowed, the Red Raiders aren’t last. They’re merely next-to-last.

A week ago against Kansas State, Tech was so inept at getting off the field that the Wildcats held the ball for more than 40 minutes of a 60-minute game.

Then there are simple mistakes. The Tech team that West Virginia faces Saturday in Lubbock is not only last in the league in penalties and yards, the Red Raiders have been penalized more times and for more yards than anyone in the country. They also rank last in the Big 12 in turnovers, having lost more than all but 16 teams in the country while gaining more than just 23 other teams.

Granted, West Virginia isn’t much better in that category, but still.

The one issue that doesn’t immediately come to mind when considering what has led to a 2-3 record and an 0-2 start in Big 12 play is offense. But that’s been problematic, as well.

via The Charleston Gazette | Texas Tech searching for consistency on offense.

The Charleston Gazette | Dave Hickman: WVU special teams pretty good, but …

Yes, the special teams have played some solid football. On the whole, giving up kickoff returns hasn’t been an issue, which is a considerable achievement for a team that, because it scores so much, averages seven kickoffs per game.

Kickoff returns have been good, too. Don’t look now, but thanks to Alford’s two touchdowns the Mountaineers rank first in the country in that department.

The field goal unit is OK. It’s not a particularly great stat because who wouldn’t prefer touchdowns to field goals, but Lambert is fourth in the country in those three-pointers made.

And about 90 percent of the time, neither punting nor punt coverage has been horrendous. Neither has been great or terrible for the most part, just average.

But then there are those glaring errors. Did we say glaring? We meant all-consuming.

via The Charleston Gazette | Dave Hickman: WVU special teams pretty good, but ….

Texas Tech Preview – WVU Athletics

West Virginia returns to the place, Lubbock, Texas, where it got its first lesson in what life sometimes can be like on the road in the Big 12 Conference.

Two years ago, in 2012, the fourth-ranked Mountaineers were riding high after big victories over Maryland, Baylor and Texas when they arrived in Lubbock to play fired-up Texas Tech. Then about five hours later reality set in.

The Red Raiders ran up 508 yards of offense and 49 points in a dominating 35-point victory. West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith had one of his worst passing performances that season, completing just 30-of-58 passes for 278 yards and one touchdown.

It was windy that afternoon, but West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen doesn’t believe that was much of a factor in his team’s poor performance.

“It sure didn’t affect them because they threw for about 500 yards and had 49 points,” he said.

via Texas Tech Preview – WVU Athletics.

New Ballpark Construction Update – WVU Athletics

Work has continued since our last update in August on the new WVU baseball ballpark.

The steel supports are now installed for the press box and suite level, as well as the roof decking being nearly complete. Additionally, the upper level of the press box is being prepared for slab on concrete pour.

Currently, construction crews are working on the masonry inside the concourse that includes restrooms, concessions and similar spaces. The clubhouse space in right field has a masonry exterior and is being completed.

The installation of utilities has taken place throughout the facility.

via New Ballpark Construction Update – WVU Athletics.

West Virginia Picked Third in Big 12 Preseason Poll

West Virginia was predicted to finish third in the Big 12 Conference Preseason Poll, as voted by the league's head coaches. 

The defending 2013-14 Big 12 regular season co-champions return three starters from a team that finished 30-5 and won its first Big 12 title last season. Last week, guard Bria Holmes was tabbed the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year and to the Preseason All-Big 12 team.

“The poll shows that the coaches around the league have a great amount of respect for our program,” said coach Mikey Carey. “Now, we must carry that momentum over as we enter this upcoming season.”

via West Virginia Picked Third in Big 12 Preseason Poll – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports.

WV MetroNews – Worley pleads no contest to assault; receives 6-month suspended sentence

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia suspended cornerback Daryl Worley pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault stemming from his involvement in a nightclub altercation with a woman on Sept. 14.

Prosecutors recommended a six-month jail term but did not oppose the defense’s request for a suspended sentence. The court afforded Worley unsupervised probation that extends through Aug 1, 2015.

Following the court’s decision, Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen announced Wednesday afternoon that he “fully reinstated Daryl Worley to our football program,” presumably clearing the way for the sophomore to play in Saturday’s game at Texas Tech.

via WV MetroNews – Worley pleads no contest to assault; receives 6-month suspended sentence.